T H E G R E E N L A K E P A D D L E R
N O R D K A P P - H M - A F E W M O D I F I C A T I O N S
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THE SAW HAD A GOOD TIME
TAMING A VERY OLD VALLEY NORDKAPP ( M ) HM
I am a typical fitness paddler and do not use my boats for multiday trips or expeditions.
Unfortunately my ''system" cannot cope with paddling days on end, so I saddle up for
five hour runs maximum. I am pretty much burned up after that, thanks to hemochro
mathosis. I paddle year round in all sorts of weather but my kayak is never loaded.
The Nordkapp HM was designed to be paddled fully packed, traveling far hauls.
As a result it was behaving in a different manner than what the designers envi-
sioned. The boat was weathercocking badly. Making matters worse, the copy
I paddle is just a weeny little bit hogged, the former owner probably stowed
it away on top of something for years on end... Rocker is nowhere to find,
a slight reverse rocker is. Something had to be done to make this boat
behave. Modifications were imminent, so finally the tools came out.
FIRST, THE SEAT HAD TO GO
I seem to have a fascination with this seat removing thing, done it to other boats
The original seat in this boat was a moulded combination with the coaming
ring. A construction seen in many GRP kayaks and very strong too, the
only gripe was; this particular seat suspended my behind a good 4cm
above bottom level ... that's ok for a heavy loaded boat but paddling
this kayak unloaded was not that relaxing and a bit of a hand full.
And so the seat went flying somewhere far away, the dust bin.
The original raised seat removed, bum on the bottom, rock solid stable feel now.
The plastic back support band ( cement mixing tub ) was trimmed down
to a third of the height you see here, to ease layback rolling.
When paddled empty this boat loved to turn upwind, the enormous integrated
skeg, in the form of a keel extension did not help enough to make it go
where I wanted. Performing correction strokes and canting the hull
most of the time, was not my idea of a well balanced ride.
There was a big need for more weight in the back or ... a sitting position further aft.
This is where the saw came in. A section of the rear deck had to go
and a new larger cockpit ring ( coaming ) had to be made.
Note : The decal is an artistic creation by the owner.
The chunk that was taken out, placed on the new coaming to give you an idea of
size. What made me decide for the dimensions, was the size of the spray skirt
I already have for one of my other boats, the Kirton Meridian. These things
are expensive enough, so sharing one for two boats is a good idea. In
my enthusiasm I forgot to take a photo of the cockpit as it was before.
Alternative back support mounting, works ok but ... maybe IŽll change that later.
THE SWEET SPOT
When you are sitting in the sweet spot of your kayak, the following can be observed.
You are paddling along in a breeze coming over the beam side, preferably the
skeg is lowered a tad, lets say one third and the kayak tracks ahead nicely.
Now bend over forward as you continue paddling, the kayak should turn
upwind slowly. If you can make your boat to turn downwind again by
bending over backwards, you are sitting in the sweet spot.To get
there I had to move my sitting position about 10cm to the rear.
The work resulted in a neutral running boat in midsize beam
wind ( 5 bft ), skeg lowered about one third. All this without
bringing sandbags, stowaways, rocks or whatever weight.
MAKING THE NEW COAMING RING
The new coaming turned out ok. No high gloss item yet, just functional.
Glossing up can still be done, but there is no real need for. How
the larger coaming ring was made I will explain next.
A mold is needed to be able to copy the curves of the deck in the new coaming.
First I removed the original coaming and enlarged the manhole. Than from
very cheap and thin flexible sheet material, hardboard is what it is called
overhere, I cutted a set of rings, 6 in this case. Applied woodglue on all
rings and used a lot of spring clamps to clamp the whole stack down
on top of the hull. The rings follow the shape of the deck effortlessly
and after doing some realigning I left the lot to harden. After that I
trimmed the stack of rings in such a way that the final polyester
coaming ring ( red ) could stand on top of the kayak hull. Fina
ly the polyester coaming ring was glassed in on the inner /
under side ( blue ) making a strong joint between the two.
Had to cut straight through, still this anchor point is fully usable. I found out, the cross
section where the rope is fed through, is internally reinforced with a metal strip!
SKEG ACTUATOR AND SKEG
As I am not an expeditioneer I do not need loads of chart space and so mounted the
skeg actuator in an experimental position, in full sight, easy to grab even with hand
on the paddle, never seen that before. T shaped, no more fumbling for a knob.
Homemade skegbox ( two halves joint together method ) in situ.
Loads of deployable area if needed.
Tapered blade in length and above all, width. Can't get stuck.
The ugly paintjob is done in Blackboard paint.
Stainless steel Rigging cable from the boatyard ( not the kayak shop ) runs inside black
4x6mm PU flexible pipe ( Parker pneumatic air tube, comes in rolls ).
Pneumatic pipe and Stainless Steel Union are guiding the actuator cable
into the skeg box. This piece was epoxied into the polyester skeg box.
The pipe can later be replaced if necessary, without having to deal
with caulking, sealers or such.. The Union locks waterproof.
CUTTING THE TAIL
I know this does not help in preventing wheather cocking, it promotes it, but the
installed skeg does such a good job, that I decided to trim the tail to liven
up the turning. In grey you can see the section that was taken off.
These guide numbers are safe, do not go any further ... as I did ...
AND THEN ... DISASTER WEEK
Some dark force paid me a visit last week, everything I layed my hands on fell apart
stopped functioning or just gave up the ghost. First my camera's battery went
south, then the PC crashed really bad, the car's electronic engine manage
ment went bezerk and finally the exhaust pipe fell off the same day!
The worst thing still had to come ... The Nordkapp splitted open
FLOODED ( CUTTING THE TAIL TOO FAR )
I was out on the lake in a stiff breeze and I noticed that the boat became harder and
harder to turn upwind. I was just playing in the waves close to the shoreline, head
out, surfing back in, head out, surfing back ... sunny day, force 6 wind. At some
point it became impossible to turn upwind and head out again and I called
it a day, landed and prepared to lift the kayak out of the water. Oemphff
nearly pulled a muscle ... something wrong, the boat was extremely
heavy at the rear end. After popping the hatch I was stunned, and
looked again ... what? Flooded, entirely! I started bailing, scoop,
scoop, scoop, scoop, there was no end in sight, water rushed
in faster than I was able to scoop. This is no leaky hatch this
is what Captain Piccard calls a hull breach ... a giant crack!
Oh, It was so tempting ... shaving off just a little bit extra to smoothen the shape
of the stern a bit further, only 5mm at the most. Shouldn't have done that !
I left too little kayak to be strong enough and so a crack formed. Here you see the
the area opened up with a saw blade to begin the repairing procedure. The
hollow goes really very deep into the integrated skeg ... now I know.
Work to be done ... saw, sandpaper, fibreglass, resin ...
Let me introduce ... The end result.
A beautiful sleek double ender. Somehow this particular copy shows a slight
anti rocker, about a 2mm negative can be measured ... strange ...
anyway, it made the boat handle a bit curious.
The thick rope on the rear deck is used for entering '' no hand on the paddle ".
That's better, no more cocking, easier layback rolling and good turning!
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